What If the Man You Married Wasn’t Who You Thought He Was?: Flower of Evil (2020)

What If the Man You Married Wasn’t Who You Thought He Was?

My sister really wanted to watch this series as she likes the actor Lee Joon-gi and heard it was a really good mystery. You know I’m always down for a mystery.

Mystery, you say?

We watched this on Vicki and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great mystery, good pacing, and the actors were phenomenal. My only complaint would be the last two episodes, the story was really strong, but I think the writers struggled at the end with tying up all the threads and trying to give a twist + happy ending.

The story is actually based on true events. There was a serial killer, Lee Chun-jae, who murdered people in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and in greatly impacted the Korean culture (kind of like how Bundy or Dahmer has did for the US). In fact they ended up jailing the Lee for the murder of his sister-in-law and only discovered he was the serial killer they had been searching for in 2019 when DNA testing came into play. Because at the time that Lee had committed the crimes, he still fell under the old law of a statue of limitations on murder (when they changed it, they did not make it retroactive), Lee would never be able to go to jail for the crimes he committed. He is currently serving his original sentence.

Our story begins with policewoman, Cha Ji-won (Moon Chae-won), who is extremely excellent at her job, solving the tough cases. She discusses the end of her most recent case with reporter, Kim Moo-jin (Seo Hyun-woo). During the interview Kim struggles as his pen constantly stops working, with Cha giving him one her husband made, hoping he’ll go do a story on him. Her husband Baek Hee-sung (Lee Joon-gi) designs pens, jewelry, and other metalworks.

From the Iron Giant

Cha comes home from work to see her daughter and her perfect husband Baek. He cooks, cleans, takes care of their daughter, etc. Not to mention he is tall, handsome, and comes from a wealthy family and is an amazing metal craftsman.

He’s perfect!

The only fly in the ointment is that his parents hate her, especially his mom.

However, Baek turns out to not be so perfect after all. He has several secrets he’s hiding from his wife. First of all his mother doesn’t really hate Cha, Baek is the one who has designed to keep them apart. He doesn’t want them growing close or else his wife will find out…find out what?

Hmmm…

Meanwhile, a death similar to serial killer Do Min-seok, (who was active in the late ‘90s and early 2000s and is based on Lee) has surfaced. Back then the authorities were searching for his accomplice, many believing that his son Do Hyun-soo was assisting him. But the search for Do Hyun-soo came up empty as he completely disappeared. Cha is investigating, and spends a lot of time trying to search for the killer and the last missing victim, Jung Mi-sook.

Reporter Kim is researching and wants to speak to a metal craftsman for more information as serial killer Do was one. In fact, Kim knew Do as he was the father of his girlfriend and the boy he bullied, Hyun Soo. He goes to see Cha’s husband Baek and Baek turns out to be Do Hyun Soo! The serial killers son!

Baek/Do insists that he was never the assistant serial killer but that people just assumed he was because his father was and he is on the spectrum, not having any “normal” social interaction skills. He blackmails Reporter Kim to assist him in discovering who the current murderer could be and the identity of the former serial killer assistant.

This part of the series is really thrilling as we have this giant game of cat and mouse with Baek/Do having to throw his wife off the scent, while getting involved further in the case.

After it is determined that Do Hyun Soo is not the current killer from now, as it is a copycat Cha still wants to try and find Do Hyun Soo. But to me this doesn’t make any sense as in South Korea there was a statue of limitations for 15 years on murder, it being extended to 25 years in 2007, and then removed in 2015 (currently there is no statue of limitations); the decision not being retroactive. The timeframe that the police believe Do Hyun Soo assisted his father was in 2002. Even if they found Do Hyun Soo, they could never charge him. Why such urgency to find him when there are other cases Cha could be working on?

Eventually Cha discovers Baek’s true identity and forces him to team up with her.

The mystery and twist is really well written until it reaches a point where the wife believes her husband committed a crime that would be impossibly for him to do as she been tracking him with GPS (unknown to him) and spending about 95% of her time with him. She also immediately assumes he committed a murder without even checking when the victim’s time of death was or confirming whether her husband’s alibi was true or not.

Bad police work.

They also put amnesia in at the end that I didn’t care for; but I still recommend it as everything else about the series was really good. Especially Lee Joon-gi as the main role Do/Baek. He is just phenomenal! The other actor that steals the show is Kim Ji-hoon. I saw Kim Ji-hoon in The Flower Boy Next Door and thought he was a good actor, but wow is he amazing in this. You really see how great actor he is and the range of his abilities. He seriously scared me! I won’t tell you what part he played as I don’t want to ruin it for any who might give this series a watch.

SUPER creeped

For more Korean Dramas, go to Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

For more mysteries, go to Ghosts or Madness?: Turn of the Screw (2009)

For more serial killers, go to People Don’t Realize That There are Killers Among Them. People They Liked, Loved, Lived With, Worked With and Admired…: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

For more films based on true events, go to Father Knows Best: The Stepfather (1987)

Happy Halloween Darlings: Horrorfest IX

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

from Clueless

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.

Rules are there must be at least one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020s)
  • At least one Alfred Hitchcock
  • At least one animated film
  • One made by Disney
  • One Stephen King film
  • One made by Tim Burton
  • One starring Vincent Price
  • And one in some way is Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although two years ago I had several. There was the Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans  Alta MarAKA High Seas, “Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soonalong with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again

Two years ago I finally reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007), which started a new tradition, #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey, something I will be continuing every year! So be sure to join me!

Another tradition I added a few years ago is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did Jane as a Ghostbusters.

This year I did Jane as Batgirl but I’m not 100% happy about it. Hope you all enjoy it though.

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have ghosts, monsters, gothic tales, vampires, mummies, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For Horrorfest IX, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

For Horrofest XI, go to No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

Father Knows Best: The Stepfather (1987)

Last year when I reviewed The Stepfather 2009, I also planned on watching and reviewing this version as well. But it was late at night, the wind was blowing my cat wreath on my door making it sound as if someone was knocking, and the wind caused the tree branch by my bedroom window to slap the pane. As I started the film, Terry O’Quinn staring into the mirror after murdering his family scared me so that I had to put something fun on.

Later when I went to rewatch the film, it was no longer on Amazon prime for free. So I decided to wait.

This past May I had my niece for the weekend and usually we watch Kdramas, Cdramas, anime, or romantic comedies. But she also loves horror and was in the mood to watch something. As we flicked through what Amazon had to offer this film came up, and even though it was an “old film” (her words) she decided to give it a try. I told her is scared me the first time I tried watching it and after we both agreed it was way better than the remake. Terry O’Quinn just does such a great job at being creepy.

So this film is party based on John List, who murdered his family and assumed another identity, and partly on some of the issues the screenwriter, Donald E. Westlake was facing as a new stepfather to a teenage girl. However, while both things influenced the film, it isn’t really based on a specific incident.

The film begins with Terry O’Quinn having murdered his family and changing how he looks-shaving his beard, changing from glasses to contacts, etc. This scene is especially creepy as he stares into the mirror and into you, your eyes!

Creepy…

He packs up his things and heads out, passing by the butchered remains of his family. This is probably the most graphic scene of the film and really shows the character of the “Stepfather” as he calmly takes care of everything, not bothered or touched at all by the massacre he created. He leaves, takes the ferry, dumps a suitcase of incriminating evidence into the lake, heads to a new town, and creates a new identity.

A year has passed and the “Stepfather” is going by Jerry Blake, is a real estate agent for American Eagle Real Estate, and has married widow Susan Maine (Shelley Hack); becoming stepfather to Jill Maine (Jill Schoelen). Susan of course loves him and prepares a gourmet dinner every night with dessert. Jill on the other hand hates him, and has started acting out in school. She confides to her therapist that she hates being around Jerry (although has no specific concerns or issues that are harming her safety) and is trying to get expelled and sent to a boarding school away from him. He therapist encourages her to try and give Jerry another chance. Jill reluctantly agrees to.

Ugh…this guy

Meanwhile in Seattle, Jerry’s previous wife’s brother, James Ogilvie is obsessed with the case and trying to find “Henry” (what Jerry went by previously). He is living in his car and harasses the newspaper reporter who wrote about the crime and the police officers. Both tell him to move on, but the reporter does agree to write a new article and include a picture, to see if someone has seen “Henry”.

To be honest, Jim looks insane and his drifter lifestyle didn’t help him any. If I encountered him, I would have brushed him off as he sounds like a fanatic.

Back in Jerry’s world he is hosting a BBQ for his friends, clients, and neighbors. He gives a big speech about community and family-very sweet and heartwarming, but something Jill finds disgusting. At the BBQ one of the adults has a newspaper and they start discussing the article about the killing by “Henry”. The article has no picture, but even though there is no direct way to connect it to him, Jerry gets freaked out. He changed the subject to lighter things and turns the paper into a newspaper hat for one of the kids.

Afterwards he goes to the basement, his work area, and has a full on devolved freak out. He starts manically rambling, about his childhood. Originally, the story included scenes of Jerry’s past and how he was abused as a child, but I actually prefer the story with those scenes cut. I think that Quinn is expressive enough in the way he acts and behaves that you can tell he grew up in an unhappy home and is striving for his “perfect TV family”. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Jim Carrey’s character in The Cable Guy, although more murder-y.

Stephanie sees him there as she was sent to get ice cream from the freezer, and she gets really unnerved at seeing him like that. He tells her that he gets tired of always being perfect and the salesman, so he needed to unwind.

Yeah that was some weird angry venting going on. Stephanie leaves to the party but searches for the newspaper that seemed to upset him. She sees it is an article about the killer and writes to the newspaper to get information, convinced that Jerry is the killer. She shares her findings with her friend, but she isn’t convinced.

Meanwhile, Jim accosts the newspaper reporter for not including a picture, but he shares that his editor nixed it. Jim decides to continue his drifting and searching, getting closer to where Jerry is hiding out.

Stephanie waits for the mail to come, but one day Jerry comes homie earlier and steals it. He then goes to a photography studio and buys a print which he switches out and then places the envelope back in the mail. When Stephanie gets it, she is disappointed that it turns out to not be Jerry, although you think she would be happy that her stepfather isn’t a serial killer, but whatever.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bondurant, Jill’s therapist has wanted to meet with Jerry for a while. As Jerry knows the risk of speaking to the therapist, and having him figure him out, he has been avoiding him. Dr. Bondurant refuses to take no for an answer and sets up an appointment to buy a house under an assumed name.

Jerry starts off really charming and nice, but quickly figures out that Dr. Bondurant has no interest in getting a house, but is there to emotionally probe him.

Jerry Blake: I wanna ask you something. Are you interested in buying a house… Or are you interested in me?

Jerry can’t have that and the doctor is gone. After he has murdered him, Jerry searches his coat, expecting him to be a reporter or cop and is surprised to see he is the therapist. He quickly cleans up and dumps the body in the car, placing a rock on the gas pedal so it will crash and everyone will think it was a car accident.

Jerry tells Stephanie of the death (after he is told by the receptionist) and the two bond. They work on a bird house together and everything is good in the home…until Stephanie starts dating her friend and Jerry catches her kissing the boy. He yells and wants to call the police on him, but Sue convinces him not to. Stephanie is embarrassed and furious!

Jerry perfect family ideal is destroyed and he starts preparing himself for a new life. He quits his job, finds one in a new town, a place to rent, and a widow. Once he has everything prepared he decides it is time to end the ladies’ life.

Jim has finally tracked Jerry down and found his home. He speaks to Sue who won’t give out much information, causing Jim to leave and plan on coming back later. Sue then calls Jerry at work, only to discover he quit.

That night when Jerry comes home is an incredibly creepy scene. He keeps getting his multiple identities confused and he starts mixing them up. Kind of like that Criminal Minds episode when they have a similar situation in Miami.

Jerry tries to soothe the upset Sue, by promising her it was a receptionist’s mistake. But he tells her the wrong name! He then completely devolves, and Sue is confused and shocked.

Jerry Blake: Wait a minute, who am I here?

Sue: Jerry?

Jerry Blake: That’s right. Jerry Blake. Thanks honey.

But even though it looks like everything is calmed down, Jerry decides the time to strike is now and kill Sue, smacking her in the head with the phone and knocking her down the stairs. He then prepares to go after the dog, but changes tactics when Stephanie returns home.

However, the Blake/Maine family never locks their door, which seems weird for a killer who is always worried about people being after them-and Jim just walks right in.

Jerry is about to attack Stephanie, but Jim tries to come at him and Jerry slashes him instead. Stephanie, frightened, runs and tries to find a way out. As Jerry blocks the only exit out, she runs upstairs into the attic, where she is followed by Jerry.

Stephanie tries to find something to defend herself with but there is nothing. Jerry advances, but falls through a rotted section of the floor. Stephanie tries to escape, but Jerry recovers and comes after her again. All looks lost until Sue, who has managed to crawl up the stairs after being smacked in the head and thought dead, grabs the gun and shoots Jerry twice-Stephanie finishing up the job by stabbing him in the chest.

At the end, Stephanie is with her mom, hacking down the birdhouse Jerry made and destroying it. I’m sure Sue will never date again after that experience.

From Gilmore Girls

A very creepy film that is much better than the remake. And you know what I always say about that-the original is always better.

No Facebook cover for this one either.

For more on The Stepfather, go to How Much Do You Really Know About Him?: The Stepfather (2009)

For more serial killers, go to People Don’t Realize That There are Killers Among Them. People They Liked, Loved, Lived With, Worked With and Admired…: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

For more ‘80s films, go to Goofy Ghosts and a Treasure Hunt: Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)

Horrofest X: Have Yourself a Haunted Halloween

It’s that time of the year again! Time for another Horrorfest, 31 days of horror, mystery, monsters, etc.

So I started Horrorfest back when I first began blogging. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it, the direction I wanted to go in. Since I like to watch scary movies every day in October, I decided to review them, and I had so much I fun I continued every year.

I know some people aren’t interested in it or would think it has nothing to do with my blog’s title, but you know who would love it and be so into horror films?

When I started this, I used a lot of stills from the movies I was reviewing and ended up with a a bunch of photos I couldn’t reuse for future posts. Since then I try to add less, unless I think I can use it for future posts or that it is crucial to the story. Instead I reuse old photos and I try to caption each photo with what film it came from, but at times I forget.

Over the years I have established a set of rules and annual films categories.

Rules are there must be at list one film or TV show episode:

  • From every decade (1930s-2020s)
  • by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Is animated
  • made by Disney
  • by Stephen King
  • by Tim Burton
  • starring Vincent Price
  • And is in some way Jane Austen related

The Jane Austen one is the hardest to do, although two years ago I had several. There was the Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans Alta Mar AKA High Seas,Death By Persuasion” from Midsomer Murders, Rebecca, and Strong Woman Bong Soon; along with the film that led to Sense and Sensibility (1995) being made-Dead Again.

Last year we had several films with Jane Austen Bingos (actors from Jane Austen productions spotted in another film), and I finally reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007), one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptions. I also started a new tradition, #CelebrateHalloweenwithNorthangerAbbey, something I will be continuing this year! So be sure to join me!

Another tradition I added a few years ago is dressing Jane up in costume every year. Last year I did Jane the Vampire Slayer to go with my review of Return of the Vampire (1943).

This year I decided to make Jane a Ghostbusters.

Well, I hope you enjoy this year’s picks-so far we have vampires, zombies, aliens, mysteries, monsters, gothic stories, film noir, and more!

For the original Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

For Horrorfest II, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

For Horrorfest III, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For Horrorfest IV, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For Horrorfest V, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For Horrorfest VI, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For Horrorfest VII, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For Horrorfest VIII, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For Horrorfest IX, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

People Don’t Realize That There are Killers Among Them. People They Liked, Loved, Lived With, Worked With and Admired…: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

People don’t realize that there are killers among them. People they liked, loved, lived with, worked with and admired could the next day turn out to be the most demonic people imaginable

So a few weeks ago I posted my review of The Stranger Beside Me based on the book and life experiences of Ann Rule-the woman who worked and was friends with Ted Bundy. In that review I mentioned watching this film first and that I was working on my review-well that time has come.

So this film is told from the point of view of Ted Bundy’s girlfriend-Elizabeth Kendall and her experiences in meeting, falling in love with Ted Bundy, and then seeing him arrested and on trial for the murders.

The first thing I find interesting is the parallel’s with both were single mothers of daughters, both said that he was incredibly charming, trusted him, believed in his innocence far into the trial-yet when both heard the description of the man the police were looking for mentioned him. I mean they were both utterly shocked when all came out about what he did, but yet at the same time there seemed to always be this thought that not everything was as it seems.

Hmm…

So first off I thought this Netflix film was extremely good. The set design, costuming, etc was amazing. Everything evoked the 1970s and felt firmly like we were stepping back into that world. The Ann Rule film tried to go for a ’70s feel but it was mostly late ’90s/early 2000s.

Zac Efron as Ted Bundy was phenomenal as you could tell he really studied the mannerisms and tone of Ted Bundy as when you watch interviews of Ted Bundy-Efron was spot on. I also liked how the film reenforced what many thought of him at the time, handsome, charming, etc.

So I understand where the film was coming from, they wanted to show it from his girlfriend’s point of view, Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins)-how she saw him, how he loved her, showing that psychopaths aren’t always easy to spot as monsters right away as they are often charming, etc. The only complaint I had was that they didn’t show the abuse his girlfriend received on her side. True, she never mentions Bundy hitting her in her book and of course he didn’t kill her-but he abused her in other ways.

I wished that had shown a little more of how he treated her as it also explains why she called in with his name. Like all victims, she had that moment when she felt something wasn’t right, clarity, but the police didn’t take her seriously.

While it was an interesting view and the acting was fantastic I preferred The Stranger Beside Me. I think that film was more equal in its depiction-showing the charming, kind, attractive qualities-but also the dark side. I think they could have been a bit harsher in the depiction of Ted Bundy, showing more of his dark side-but otherwise it was an interesting film and very informative.

For more on Ted Bundy, go to How Well Do We Ever Really Know People?: The Stranger Beside Me (2003)

For more films based on a true story, go to I Don’t Understand, I Just Wanna Be Your Friend!: Death of a Cheerleader (1994)

For more Lily Collins, go to You’re Mother is a Shadowhunter…Like You: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones (2013)

For more serial killers, go to How Much Do You Really Know About Him?: The Stepfather (2009)